Prior to the arrival of European settlers, the Native Indian tribes living in what is now South Carolina
included the Bear River Indians, Cape Fear Indians, Catawba,
Cheraw, Cherokee, Chowanoc, Machapunga, Moratok, Natchez,
Occaneechi, Santee, Saponi, Shakori, Tuscarora, and the Waccamaw tribes. See YouTube videos on the History of Native American Indians.
- In 1566, the colony of Santa Elena was established in
South Carolina by the Spanish.
- In 1670, the first English settlement was established in South Carolina at Albemarle Point on the
- In 1682, Craven county within the Carolina colony included
the area now known as Clarendon county.
- Clarendon county
is named after Edward Hyde, the Earl of Clarendon, friend and supporter
of King Charles II of England. At one time he served as the Lord High
Chancellor of England. He was one of the lords proprietors to whom the King
gave all the land in this part of the American colonies.
- In 1701, John Lawson, an English trader and explorer
wrote of the Santee Indians of this area. In his writings he spoke of the
friendliness and hospitality of the Santees. Examples of their ways of life and
customs can still be found in and around their burial mounds at Fort Watson
near the Santee waters.
- In 1711 the Santee Indians joined the settlers to
fight the Tuscarora Indians of North Carolina, but in 1715 the Santees joined
the Yemassee Indians in a war to destroy the South Carolina settlers, and they
almost succeeded. The few Indians left at the end of that war moved up the
river to join the Catawba Indians, leaving no Santee Indians in our county.
- In 1721, South Carolina officially became a Crown Colony. Sir Francis Nicholson was appointed the first royal governor of the colony.
- In 1757, St. Mark's Parish was formed out of Craven county.
It contained the area of land that would eventually become known as Clarendon county.
- In 1769, the
colonial general assembly divided the occupied part of the colony into seven
judicial districts, each with its own courthouse and county officers. St.
Mark's Parish was put in Camden district.
- The American Revolutionary War began in 1775 when local militias clashed with British troops at Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts. By the end of 1775 rebels had seized control in all thirteen colonies and on July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress issued the Declaration of Independence. In 1778, the British shifted their attention to the southern colonies, recaptured Georgia and South Carolina for the Crown in 1779 and 1780. In 1781, British forces suffered a major defaeat at Yorktown, Virginia. The defeat broke
Britain's will to continue the war. Limited fighting continued
throughout 1782 until the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1783, officially ending the war and recognized the sovereignty of the United States of America.
- A number of Revolutionary War battles or engagements
took place in Clarendon county. They included the Battle of Half Way Swamp
took place December 1780. Various other battles that took place in the general
area are the Battle of Richbourg’s Mill, the Battle of Nelson’s Ferry, the
Battle of Fort Watson/Santee Indian Mound, and the Battle of Tearcoat.
- In 1785, a legislative act was passed which divided
Camden District into seven counties. One of them was Clarendon county.
- South Carolina
was admitted to the Union on May 23, 1788. South
Carolina was the 8th State to join the United States of America.
- In 1790, Clarendon county had two representatives and
shared one senator with Claremont County, which included neighboring Sumter County.
- In 1792, Salem County was created from Eastern
Clarendon and Claremont counties.
- In 1793, the
Santee Canal was constructed to facilitate the transportation of settlers goods
inland. The canal was closed early in the 1850 as the railroads made the canal
- In 1798, three counties - Clarendon, Claremont and
Salem - were combined to form Sumter District.
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